Over the past 70 years or so we have steadily eroded our Federal system of government and governance of our nation. The Federal government has encroached on more and more areas that traditionally and Constitutionally were reserved to the States. Most of these impositions have been indirect takeovers of certain industries, enterprises or functions such as imposing such as in education, the environment and welfare programs of all sorts. These takeovers are accomplished by the Feds first issuing a mandate that the States have to perform certain functions or provide services as defined and supervised by the Feds.
Education is a prime example but certainly not the only one. Going back to the ’60’s the Feds started with all these head start programs and breakfast and lunch programs. The various mandates of the Feds have only grown, like they always do, with regard to education. Now they have these standards for achievement and teacher performance. I am all for education and a good education at that with demanding standards for the administrators, teachers and children. Sadly, all this Federal intrusion into education has not produced positive results. Forget in my opinion the “buzz” from all the academics about improvements here and there. Just look around your neighborhood, city or State. Do YOU see evidence that our kids are challenged and that the curricula are demanding? You have bound to heard about grade inflation and have an opinion on it. They can’t do basic math, write a coherent sentence, know little about science if anything and when it comes to history or political science they are deplorable or worse misinformed by revisionist teachers. Please read a 7th grade history text this month. Draw your own conclusions about what they are learning or more importantly not learning.
We do need a good educational system but that is and should be the responsibility of the States and not the domain of the Feds. Jefferson was one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of public education and devoted his life after politics to the construction and establishment of the University of Virginia. We need local control and local responsibility for all matters regarding our schools. The Federal government shouldn’t be providing free meals, after school programs and certainly shouldn’t have anything to do with the curriculum or class room standards. That should be addressed by the individual States. If there are hungry children at school then the local school district should deal with that or the State. Likewise all matters regarding teaching and quality of education should come from the local roots.
We have allowed ourselves to become Provinces of the central government rather than sovereign States as envisioned in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. The Feds accomplish this by making a mandate and then taxing the wadding out of us and then taking the money and telling us that if we don’t follow their bidding that they will withhold the Federal money for the different programs. Only today there are news accounts of the latest from the EPA about ozone standards being altered again. When the new rules come out those localities not in Federal compliance will lose their funding for highways. Exactly the same thing happens with Medicaid, the education grants, the welfare programs, etc. Where do they think the money comes from in the first place? They take it from us, denying that money to our local States. I wish for once that a vast majority of the States would rise up and tell the Feds, “Hell NO” we don’t want your money and don’t want to be in your programs. At the same time the local populace would tell their epresentatives and Senators that they better reduce the Federal tax burden in a proportionate amount.
It would be nice if someone would pay for the research to go through the labyrinthine Federal set up and all the agencies, Departments and bureaus and calculate the number of programs and the money that they cost. You know it would be billions, hundreds of billions annually. All that money could be repatriated to the States where it rightfully belongs in the first place for education and other areas. Let the States decide how they want to deal with these issues and let them tax their residents as determined by local politics. Competition is a good thing. Education is a good thing. Let the States have their money and let them put out an education product and let the competition begin. It would be so healthy for the nation. Some would lag behind others but they would have a lot of incentive to improve or they would lose the economic race and challenge to the States offering a better product. Let the States take care of the welfare of their citizens and their educational needs. Except for the Interstate Highway system, let the States foot the bill for their road system. Why in the world should folks in Mich. have to pay for Parish bridges in Louisiana?
The friction of competition and the variety of options that would be offered would be very good for the nation as a whole. Those with the best systems would flourish and the others would have a model to emulate.
Those guys a long time ago we smart enough to figure out how to do lots of things that baffle me. How the heck did Hannibal load those elephants on to those galleys and transport them to Europe? We are talking about ships that were 60 to 90 long at the most and only 15 to 18 feet at the beam. How do you get an elephant that weighs two tons or more on that? And where in the world do your put him when you do get him aboard? The miracle is I guess that after all that they somehow managed to sail with them without too many of them going berserk en route and capsizing the ship. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com